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Social media credited for helping find Maryland girl in Amber Alert

Updated: Saturday, March 8 2014, 10:24 PM CST
Reported by Ewa Roman (ERoman@sbgtv.com)
Time and time again, Facebook and Twitter have proven to be one of the most important tools for police, especially during Amber Alerts.

Early last month, when two Lancaster children were taken by their father, Detective Sergeant Nathan Nickel spoke to us about keyboard crime fighting.

“Oh it’s huge! I mean social media plays a humungous part in this. Everybody has Facebook, Twitter and the more people that have social media sites, (more) get these amber alerts,” said Nathan Nickel, Lancaster City Police, Detective Sergeant.

The latest Amber Alert Thursday notified people that Caitlyn Virts of Maryland was missing and police were looking for her dad, Timothy who was also suspected of killing his wife, then taking off with his daughter. Friday night they were found, police say all thanks to a hotel clerk being a part of the social media world.

“Citizens talking to each other, Facebook, Twitter, communications led to the successful outcome. In fact, in this case, we believe there was a clerk at the motel communicating via social media established the suspects name and coordinated that name with a registrar at the motel,” said James Johnson, Baltimore County Police Chief.

CBS 21 News spoke with people in downtown Harrisburg, who say they all shared and retweeted the alert.

“Absolutely! I send them out to everybody I know. I always share it, I think it’s super important to do that,” said Danielle Earp, Northumberland County resident.

“It’s really easy, because you’re always on Facebook or you see a post and it’s so easy to click a button and share it. You can tag anyone you want, just to get the word out, tell your friend just check this out,” said Jennifer Harbora, New Jersey resident.

CBS 21 News viewers also retweeted and shared our posts during the search for the Virts girl. Afterwards Rose Baker wrote:

“So many PPL I know think that Facebook is a bad thing. It's things like this that make it great.“

Stephany Carey says, “I hate posting pictures such as missing ppl, but I do and it does have its rewards!! Glad she has been found and she is ok!!”

And Deb Walls writes: “Loved that it worked! I shared every news station. Glad she is safe.”

And if you would like to keep up with our posts about important information like Amber Alerts, visit our CBS 21 Facebook page and “ like” us. You can also find us on Twitter.Social media credited for helping find Maryland girl in Amber Alert


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